Mobilizing respect and politeness in classrooms
This introduction to the special issue articulates a linguistic anthropological approach to the study of respect and politeness in classrooms. Ideas about respect and politeness suffuse educational encounters and mediate teachers’ identification of students’ as ready, willing, and able to learn. The ethnographic, discourse analytic studies of classroom interaction included in this volume examine how teachers model and communicate to students what counts as polite or respectful behavior in the classroom and how teachers mobilize models of ‘politeness’ and ‘respect’ to manage their classrooms and to understand student conduct. The authors argue for a semiotic model of politeness that accounts for how the broadly circulating models and stereotypes connecting communicative repertoires to aspects of identity and personhood are instantiated, inhabited, and deployed in sometimes unexpected ways in everyday interactions.